Tue. Nov 19th, 2019

David Antón enters the elite of chess with a fifth place in the Grand Swiss tournament

Magnus Carlsen traveled to the Isle of Man to dispute the prestigious Great Swiss tournament of the International Chess Federation (FIDE) with the aim of achieving its sixth title of the year of the seven played so far. The world number one since 2011 was looking for the record of 101 games without losing, something as difficult as it could be to be three Champions League in a row without suffering a defeat. The victory in this championship gives a place for the next year's candidate tournament, where the Norwegian champion challenger will come from, so there was also the world chess flat. After nine days, the Norwegian remained in the top positions, but the leadership was for a young man not too familiar to him. The intrigue could the champion and wanted to see how Fabiano Caruana, its last challenger in 2018, was measured against this intruder. So he didn't hesitate to go to his table, trying to understand his game. David Anton was that young man Carlsen wanted to scrutinize in the short distance.

David Antón Pebble (Murcia, 1995) would lose that game against the Italian-American, the only defeat in an unforgettable week in which he faced the elite of world chess. Despite this, he left the Isle of Man with a Fifth place, half a point behind the winner and one position ahead of Magnus Carlsen, perhaps the best player in history. For many, Anton has taken the definitive step to enter fully into that bouquet of geniuses who dominate the board at will. On the way he made boards with the Russian Sergej Karjakin, Putin's protégé and rival of Carlsen two World Cups ago, and also tied with Armenian Levon Aronian, number seven in the world. His great triumphs came before the American Lenderman and the Russian Alexander Grischuk, runner-up of classics in 2007 and world number 10. He only limped before Caruana, number two, when it seemed that the boards were in his hand. But that setback did not condition him and in the last game he remade himself to finish half a point from the final winner.

Jump in the classification

The Madrid adoption is already number 45 of the FIDE ranking with 2,686 ELO points

No Spanish had achieved anything similar for many years. In fact, Spain is no power in chess. He has only had one world champion in his history, Rui López de Segura, a priest who is considered the first champion of the science sport there by the end of the 16th century. But since that 1570 almost five centuries have passed in which the Spaniards have not even been close to such a relevant milestone. In that battle against the weight of history, Paco Vallejo is the only one who has been able to approach, although timidly, the best.

The child , as David Antón is known in the world of chess, he was not the typical young prodigy who devoted his body and soul to his passion since childhood. For him it was only a hobby until he won the U-14 Spanish Championship in 2009. From there he would win the next eight national championships and become one of the great promises of the country. There he began to take it seriously, and in 2014 came the final boost, being runner-up in Europe with only 19 years. It was then that he left his mathematics studies. It was already the Spanish number two.

The game level of the boy It is above the ELO, type of score on which the FIDE classification is based. His last big blow had occurred in the Gibraltar Open, when he was about to win in the tiebreaker Hikaru Nakamura, the king of fast chess, with only 21 years.

Their progress has been constant since then. No stridency Slow and serene, analytical but not pedantic, Anton makes virtue normal in his day to day. He is almost a star, but he looks like a young kid having fun among adults. His mental agility is surprising, so is the safety with which he executes high-risk movements.

All this has led Paco Vallejo, Spanish number one for the last 15 years, to give the witness, in a gesture full of symbolism, leaving him to be the first European board that the Spanish team played in Batumi a few days ago.

Antón's next objective is to try to stay among the best in each tournament and aim, why not, one day be in the candidate tournament. That is what differentiates good players from the world elite today. For this he has worked in recent years, and he and Spanish chess dream about it.

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